On view in April
Cascades of blossoming nasturtium vines make their brief but dramatic appearance above the Courtyard, celebrating the arrival of spring at the Gardner Museum. (Nasturtium blooms last about three weeks.) The annual Hanging Nasturtiums display continues an annual tradition started by Isabella Stewart Gardner during the week before Easter, marking the valiant return of color to The Fenway.
Nasturtium vines (Tropaeolum majus) are planted in late summer and cultivated in the Gardner Museum’s greenhouses throughout the winter to prepare them for their spectacular spring debut. The vines require continuous care in the greenhouse to ensure dramatic length—up to twenty feet—and require up to ten workers to install in the Museum. The result is a stunning display that cannot be found anywhere else!
In the Courtyard garden below, typical companions include azaleas, blue cineraria, ivory and cream daffodils, and Cymbidium orchids punctuate a green background of ferns, palms, and pines. The Gardner Museum’s signature Clivia miniata are also often on display and now include beautiful lemon-colored blossoms from Allen Haskell’s nursery specimen, playing off of the orange variety that have been a part of the Museum’s collection for over forty years. Abutilon stiratum (flowering maple) are often used to flank the steps and the statues to complement this amazing exhibit of springtime color. A trip to the Gardner Museum in the coming weeks is a profound experience for the senses.
To add to the stunning nasturtiums on show in the Courtyard, Café G highlights the edible flower’s mild but peppery taste with a special menu starring the orange florets. Commonly seen as a garnish or salad component, Chef Peter Crowley has creatively incorporated the nasturtiums into dishes that include a vegetable summer roll made from locally-sourced seasonal vegetables and a decadent dessert made from frozen Greek yogurt with candied nasturtiums and strawberries. “We wanted to do more than just add nasturtiums to the menu,” said Crowley. “We wanted to make it the star of each dish.”
The Hanging Nasturtiums Courtyard display is made possible in part by the Museum’s Sorenson Fund for Horticulture. Photo: Siena Scarff, 2012.
The Courtyard features plants that are actively growing and constantly changing. Courtyard images include plants that are representative of each display, but plants will be added or replaced over the life of the display.
© 2015 flower portraits
Photography / Design – Siena Scarff Design
Writing / Research – JoAnn Robinson, Ann Uppington
Horticulture – Stan Kozak, Taylor Johnston